Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday Afternoon Bad News Post

I'm really getting tired of writing this negative injury update posts.  It really fucking sucks.

- After making it through last night's game fine, most likely because he walked 3 times and didn't have to swing much, Mark Teixeira was removed from this afternoon's game early when his wrist started acting up again.  The team is continuing to call it "inflammation" and Joe said Teix won't play tomorrow or Monday before being re-evaluated Tuesday, but he did get another cortisone shot today.  Cue the DL stint countdown.

- Michael Pineda was also shut down before he could make his scheduled ExST start tomorrow.  He felt soreness in his shoulder area after playing catch yesterday and an MRI today revealed inflammation in the same area that his initial back/shoulder muscle injury occurred.

More on these stories as it comes out...

Power Outage

May 17th- Yankees hit 5 home runs and 1 double in a 7-1 victory over the Pirates.

12 games since- Yanks have hit 4 HR, 2 triples, and 9 doubles.

6 XBH in 1 game, 15 total XBH in a dozen games.  That's not bad, that's awful.  The Yanks haven't hit a home run since 5/25 and the complete lack of power in their lineup was never more exposed than last night against Ricky Nolasco, the guy who came into the game with the second most hits allowed and second highest ERA among all qualifying pitchers in the AL.

They're all saying the right things about the power problem, but talk is cheap.  They don't know what they're going to get from Teix or Beltran in the power department thanks to their arm injuries, they already know they're not going to get much from guys like Jeter and Roberts, and at this point who knows what to expect from Soriano and McCann.  The lack of pop is a huge problem and it needs to be addressed.  They can't continue to hit this weakly with this patchwork rotation.

Game 53 Wrap-Up: MIN 6 NYY 1

(That pretty much sums it up.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Safe to say that game wasn't one of the games that the team will look back on as part of their best at the end of the year.  The Yankees looked flat in their first game back at The Stadium after a week on the road.  They didn't pitch, they didn't hit, they didn't run the bases, and they got it handed to them by the Twins.  That's never a good thing.

Game Notes:

- Minnesota got started early against Vidal Nuno with a solo HR by Oswaldo Garcia in the top of the 2nd.  0-2 fastball right over the heart of the plate, gone.

- They got 3 more in the top of the 4th, once again off of Nuno's weak fastball.  He threw a bad 0-2 one to Josh Willingham to start the inning and another bad one in a 2-1 count to Trevor Plouff with a runner on.  Both guys hit them a long way and the Twins had a 4-1 lead.

- The 1 Yankee run came in the 3rd on an RBI double down the right field line by Jacoby Ellsbury.  Brett Gardner was on 2nd after a force out earlier in the inning.  That was all the offense they'd get.

- They had themselves to blame for ruining a couple other good scoring chances against Twins starter Ricky Nolasco.  Derek Jeter rounded first base too far on a single in the 5th and started a rundown that eventually got Brett Gardner tagged out trying to score from 3rd.  Brian Roberts got picked off first base in the 2nd and thrown out at the plate to end the 6th.

- The best thing Nuno did, the only good thing, was pitch into the 7th.  Preston Claiborne took over there and gave up 2 more runs in the 8th on a back-breaking walk-single-single trifecta with 2 outs.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 5/30/14

Is it a foregone conclusion that Henrik Lundqvist will win the Conn Smythe if the Rangers win the Cup?  I feel like that's the way the media will push it as the series progresses, and in fairness Hank has been dynamite this postseason, but I think Ryan McDonagh could swoop in and steal it with another 10+ point performance in the finals.  The guy was money in the ECF, absolutely the best defenseman on the ice every game of the series and the best player period on the ice for stretches.  If he finishes the playoffs with 25-ish points, a positive plus/minus, and helps shut down what will be a very deep and dangerous offensive opponent no matter who comes out of the West, he's at least got to be in the discussion, no?  Guess we'll find oot.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, SJK of NoMaas pointed out the illogical bullpen decisions by both managers in the Yankees' Memorial Day extra-inning victory over the Cards.

- On Tuesday, Mike Axisa of RAB mused on how John Ryan Murphy is helping the Yankees in the now and in the future with how he's played since coming up.

- Matt Provenzano of Pinstripe Alley laid out the organizational relief pitching depth for the full-season MiL teams in preparation for the upcoming MLB draft.

- On Wednesday, Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits analyzed the numbers and their similarities to the last 2 seasons to show why we shouldn't be as concerned about Hiroki Kuroda as most are.

- El duque of It Is High... set this Sunday as the deadline for knowing where Beltran and Teix stand with respects to their health so that the Yanks can start making alternate plans quickly.

- Michael Eder of IIATMS/TYA noticed some new trends in pitcher approach that may be factoring into Yangervis Solarte's recent regression.  Way more useful than me pointing out that he's slumping.

- On Thursday, Chad Jennings of LoHud took a lineup spot-by-lineup spot look at the offense to see where the Yanks are getting the most and least.

- Delia Enriquez of Bronx Baseball Daily identified the biggest Yankee disappointments through 2 months.

- John Balas of The Greedy Pinstripes touched on the things that have stood out to him over the first third of the season.

- On Friday, SG of RLYW summed up my feelings about the Nunez-Hughes reunions this weekend better than I ever could.

Going with a little "Cheap Sunglasses" for this week's jam.  The Sword actually does a pretty sweet cover of this song, but you gotta stick with the original.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

Examining Tanaka's Performance On Different Rest Schedules

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Almost a third of the way through the 2014 season, it would be hard to call Masahiro Tanaka's first year as a Yankee anything but spectacular thus far.  In 10 starts, he's pitched to a 2.29/2.61/2.30 slash in 70.2 innings with 79 strikeouts and only 10 walks.  His 28.5% K rate is tied with Zack Greinke for the best in MLB.  His splitter might already be the single best pitch in baseball.  He's got a 48.2% K rate on it and only a .318 OPS against.  He's quickly become not only the most must-see player on the Yankees and their unquestioned ace in the face of all their rotation injuries, he's also become one of the must-see players in the entire league and one of the best pitchers in the game.

One of the biggest things the Yankees wanted to do with Tanaka this season was ease him into the transition from the Japanese Leagues to MLB.  A major part of that easing was the extra rest Joe said he wanted to give him early in the season to get Tanaka's body and arm used to pitching every fifth day.  Through both smart strategic and lucky weather-related decisions, Joe has employed that strategy perfectly through the first 2 months.  Tanaka has made 6 of his 10 starts with 1 day or more of extra rest, and the extra time off actually has him 1 start behind almost every other top starting pitcher.  The rest has certainly helped keep Tanaka fresh and served the purpose of scaling back his early workload, but has it made a difference in his performance?  Let's check the numbers.

Friday Morning Injury News Roundup

Here they are, quick and dirty:

- Teix: Saw his surgeon in New York yesterday, who took an Ultrasound and didn't see anything.  The injury is still being called "wrist inflammation" and Teix's status for tonight's game is unknown.

- Beltran: Took soft toss in the cage yesterday, 25 swings each from the right and left side.  Felt no pain, scheduled to do this again today.

- Kelley: Played flat field catch again yesterday, all good.  Slated to throw a bullpen session today.

- Pineda: Scheduled to pitch in an intrasquad game in Tampa on Sunday.  No word yet on pitch count or plans after the outing.

- ManBan: Returned to the mound last night after missing some time with elbow stiffness.  Threw 2 scoreless innings for Double-A Trenton.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Prospect Stock Watch: May 2014

(The new second baseman of the future?  Courtesy of

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Another month is almost in the books.  That means it's time to check the prospect ticker and see who's been making gains and who's been dropping with their performance this month.  Two months in and I still don't know how I feel about the farm system this year.  There's a lot of guys having better seasons than I expected, but there's also a lot of preseason top guys who aren't living up to expectations at all.  Here are the players who stood out to me for better and worse in May.

Dirty Dave Part Deux

(Might be time to update this classic and put the fireman gear on Betances)

Remember when David Robertson was carving guys up with his curveball last May?  Well he's back at it again.  D-Rob recorded all 4 of his outs via the strikeout last night, the last 3 on his curveball and all 3 of them swinging.  It was the continuation of an exceptional run he's been on over the last 2 weeks that would be getting more talk if he didn't have the Adam Dunn walk-off blown save sandwiched right in the middle of it.

In his last 7 appearances dating back to May 15th, D-Rob has pitched 7.1 innings, given up 2 ER on 7 hits (both runs on the Dunn HR), walked 2, and struck out 18.  Yes, 18.  He's recorded 22 outs in the last 2 weeks and all but 4 of them have been strikeouts.  That's pure filth.

Game 52 Wrap-Up: NYY 7 STL 4

(Brendan Ryan at shortstop?  It can't be.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

There was a lot of good that could have happened last night.  Hiroki Kuroda could have turned in a throwback performance from last year or 2012 and inspired confidence that he can be a stabilizing force in the rotation, the offense could have woken up against a very erratic and hittable Shelby Miller, and the Yankees could have wrapped up a victorious series and road trip with a win.  2 and a half of those things happened, so I'd say there was plenty of good that came out of last night.

Game Notes:

- The Yanks stranded 2-out singles in each of the first 2 innings, then unloaded on Miller in the 3rd and 4th.  It started with a Brett Gardner walk, 3 straight singles, and an Ichiro RBI groundout to get 4 in the 3rd.

- It ended with a Brian Roberts double, Jacoby Ellsbury 2-run single (his 3rd hit of the game at that point), and a Brian McCann RBI single for 3 more in the 4th.  It was a barrage of base hits.

- The half part was Kuroda's.  He started off strong in the 1st and 2nd, danced around a bases loaded situation in the 3rd, and then never really got a grip on his command again.  He gave up a run each in the 4th, 5th, and 6th, and didn't make it out of that inning.

- Once again, Dellin Betances did his fireman thing.  He came on with 2 outs and runners on the corners in a 7-3 game and got the last out of the inning,  No flashy strikeout, but he got the job done and effectively ended the St. Louis comeback attempt.

- The early runs were all the Yankees would get.  They managed to not score with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 8th, but it didn't hurt them as Adam Warren and David Robertson teamed up to get the final 9 outs.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Brian McCann Sucks

I mean really sucks.  It's startling how bad he's been at the plate.  He's been awful, no other way to describe it.  Here's where McCann's key offensive numbers rank among his fellow catchers:
  • .218 BA- Last among 12 qualified/26th out of 29 w/ at least 100 plate appearances
  • .275 OBP- Last qualified/27th out of 29
  • .370 SLG- Last/25th
  • .286 wOBA- Last/26th
  • 75 wRC+- Last/26th
  • 0.5 fWAR- Last/24th
  • 5.6% BB rate- 11th/22nd
The only thing keeping his offensive ship afloat is the 7 HR he's popped (tied for 2nd best among all catchers) and the 22 RBI that puts him comfortably in the top 10.  The only thing he's truly done well this season has been catch.  McCann is generating almost all his value from what he's doing behind the plate.  What he's doing at the plate only seems to be getting worse.

Solate Is So-lumping Again

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

It was a tough night for Yangervis Solarte at the dish last night.  Hitting in the 5-spot behind Brian McCann, he went 0-4 (0-3 with RISP), banged into a rally-killing double play, and left 5 men on base.  He only saw 9 pitches in his 4 plate appearances, extending a little mini-slump he's stuck in to 6 games.  In his last 6 games, Solarte is just 2-23 with 1 R, RBI, and BB apiece.  His batting average has slipped to .285, and combined with the nagging injuries to Beltran's elbow and Teix's wrist, Solarte has helped expose the paper thin middle of the batting order.  Needless to say, he's no longer the ideal option for the #2 spot.

Wednesday Morning Injury News Roundup

It's really sweet that these are becoming a regular feature on the site, right?  No?  Oh, well then that's awkward.  Aaaaaaaanyway...

- Carlos Beltran took more dry swings yesterday, both right and left-handed with a regular bat, and felt no discomfort in his elbow.  He'll take a day off today and resume swinging tomorrow.

- Shawn Kelley's back felt good after his long toss sesh on Monday, so he threw another one yesterday.  If his back feels good again, he'll throw some more today.

- More from Teix on his stiff right wrist: “The doctor is 99 percent sure that this is inflammation from overuse and just completely expected.  He was surprised I haven’t had more flare ups. It’s been pretty good all season.”  I guess that makes me feel better about it.

(Quote and updates via Chad Jennings)

Game 51 Wrap-Up: STL 6 NYY 0

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

There was a lot of pressure on David Phelps last night.  Guys always say there's not, that every game is just another game, but when you're coming back to your hometown to make your first career start there since high school and you know you're pitching in front of tons of family and friends, that's a lot of pressure.  That's what Phelps was dealing with when he took the hill and he pitched like it.  After a 7-inning exhibition of efficiency and pitching smarts in his last start,  Phelps reverted back to some bad habits and got touched up by the Cardinals in a painful-to-watch loss.

Game Notes:

- It was effectiveness without efficiency as usual for Phelps through 2 innings.  He put men on (2 hits, 1 walk) and threw a lot of pitches (41), but kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard.

- A pair of hanging sliders by Phelps gave the Cards 1 run and back-to-back errors by Derek Jeter Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts after an intentional walk gave them 3 more in the bottom of the 3rd.  Truly ugly stuff.

- Lance Lynn was very good when the game was tied.  After he got his 4 runs he made the cardinal (pun intended) sin of walking the leadoff batter the next half-inning.  Yangervis Solarte bailed him out with a rally-killing GIDP to end the inning and kept the Yanks scoreless through 4.

- Phelps gave up another run on an Allen Craig home run in the 5th, but did manage to work 6 innings before giving way to Alfredo Aceves.  He did Alfredo Aceves things, like giving up a home run to the first batter he faced, and the route was on.

- It was a route because the offense never got anything going against Lynn.  He put 2 runners on in the 6th and 8th and escaped both times.  Matheny even let him come out and finish the game in the 9th.  Not much more to say about this one.  Yanks didn't pitch, hit, or field.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Evening News And Notes

- Michael Pineda did throw his 2-inning ExST start today as planned.  He threw 28 pitches, 20 for strikes.  No report on his velocity, not that it matters, but he did strike out 4 and walk 1.

- No Teix in the lineup again tonight.  He told reporters he wanted to play tomorrow in the series finale against St. Louis but was going to wait until he saw how his wrist felt.  He'll have the team doctors take a precautionary look at it when the team gets back to New York on Thursday.

- The latest All Star Game voting numbers came in today.  To no one's surprise, Derek Jeter is the leader for the AL at shortstop.  He's 3rd overall behind Mike Trout and Jose Bautista.

- Via Jack Curry, Elias has confirmed that Dellin Betances is the first rookie reliever in history to have 50+ strikeouts in his team's first 50 games of the season.  I guess that's pretty good.

Joe Needs To Keep Lengthening The Leash On His Young Starters

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally posted at IIATMS/TYA)

A funny thing happened this last turn through the rotation.  Joe showed a little more faith in his trio of young replacement starters, allowing all of them to work deeper into the game than they have since taking spots in the rotation, and the world didn't collapse in on itself.  In fact, the Yankees won 2 of the 3 games pitched by David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, and Chase Whitley, and may have snuck out a win in the other game if Joe had put a competitive lineup on the field.

The Yankees have had a ton of problems in their rotation already this year, almost all of them due to injury.  The latest issue has been not getting enough length from the starters and it was an issue partially perpetuated by Joe and his quick hook with these 3.  He knows who his bullpen aces are and he's leaned heavily on them to carry the burden of holding leads rather than leave it in the hands of pitchers in which he doesn't have as much confidence.  This apparent change in philosophy over the last 5 days is something that needs to continue if the Yanks are going to stay afloat into the summer.

Bottom Of The Order Coming Up Big Lately

(I'm actually going to say something positive about Ichiro.  Believe it.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Consistent offensive production continues to be a big problem for the Yankees as May winds down.  Carlos Beltran is on the DL, Teix may or may not have to join him because of his wrist stiffness, and Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano have been unable to find their footing to carry the middle of the order.  Despite all of this, the Yankees have won 4 of their last 6 games and 8 of their last 12 over the last 2 weeks.  It's been the bottom of the order and the rotating cast of characters inhabiting it that have had a lot to do with that.

Teix Wrist Update: Might Need More Than A Day

I wouldn't say it was necessarily pessimistic, but Mark Teixeira's self-evaluation of his stiff right wrist yesterday wasn't nearly as optimistic as Joe's was earlier in the day.  Teix spoke about it after the game, and via Chad Jennings' report, he said he thought it was best to use more than just yesterday to rest it:

“It’s just inflammation, we think.  It’s probably time to take a day or two off to let it calm down anyway.”

Teix said this current stiffness is the worst he's felt all year and it's been bothering him whether he swings righty or lefty.  He didn't swing at all yesterday and he probably won't today.  There are no further tests scheduled, but it does come off a bit odd that everybody keeps talking about the stiffness in terms of what they "think" it is.  If there's uncertainty, why not get a follow-up MRI to verify?

Obviously this isn't good news for the Yankee lineup.  Teix has been the most consistent power presence in it since coming off the DL.  But the first year after surgery is always a bumpy road like this and given the history of guys who've had the same surgery, it's much better to take the safe route here.  Give Teix a few days of no swinging and see how it responds.  They've got a new backup first baseman in Brendan Ryan anyway.  I'm sure he can replicate Teix's production for a few games.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Game 50 Wrap-Up: NYY 6 STL 4

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Well that was a fun one, huh?  Today's series opener in St. Louis, the classiest baseball town in the US (wank), featured a little bit of everything.  There was some timely hitting, some good pitching, some great defense, and a ton of managerial moves and decisions that factored into the game.  It was no short matinee by any means, but a really entertaining and great game to watch.  In the end, the Yankees were able to come out on the winning side.

Game Notes:

- The Yanks needed 9 pitches to get a run off Michael Wacha in the top of the 1st on a Brett Gardner walk and back-to-back singles by Jeter and Ellsbury.  The Cards needed just 8 in the bottom half to tie the game up on a Matt Carpenter triple and a Kolten Wong ribbie double.

- Wacha retired 11 straight after the rough start, then got burned by an exact repeat of the 1st.  Ichiro walked to start the 5th and the Yanks put 2 more singles together after him to regain the lead.  A sac fly from Gardner extended it to 3-1.

- Chase Whitley matched Wacha's 0s through 4, and once again he came to the 70-80 pitch mark that has signaled the end of his day.  Joe let him work past that and Whitley made it through the 5th before gassing out and loading the bases in the 6th.  The Cards converted that into 2 runs to tie the game again.

- Gardner's 1-out single gave the Yankees a chance to go ahead in the 8th.  But Derek Jeter decided to not swing and protect him on a 3-1 base stealing attempt and Gardner was gunned down by Yadier Molina to end the threat before The Captain K'd to end the inning.

- Carlos Martinez and Dellin Betances each showed off their top notch relief stuff for 2 innings to pitch the game into extras.  Alfredo Aceves did the job and got them to the 12th, when the offense finally pieced together another rally.

-  Jacoby Ellsbury walked and stole second, Brian McCann was plunked, Yangervis Solarte sac bunted them over, and Mike Matheny intentionally walked Ichiro so lefty Randy Choate could pitch to Brian Roberts hitting right-handed.  Roberts singled to start a 3-run inning that also featured a clutch ribbie single by new backup first baseman Brendan Ryan.

- D-Rob was summoned for the save and he worked around a Derek Jeter throwing error to get it done, fanning 2 Cardinal hitters with a series of nasty curveballs.

Memorial Day Injury News Roundup

Hope everybody is enjoying their Memorial Day.  Here's the latest on the batch of injured/rehabbing Yankees if you're near a computer:

- Michael Pineda is slated to pitch 2 innings in an ExST game in Tampa tomorrow.  No word on how many of these games he's expected to pitch or what his pitch count will be.

- Carlos Beltran took 15 dry swings with a fungo bat today and felt good, and the plan is for him to take more tomorrow.  According to Jorge Castillo, tomorrow's session will include 30 swings with a real bat.

- Via Dan Barbarisi, Shawn Kelley threw on flat ground from 75 feet today "with no issues".  I imagine the team will see how he feels tomorrow before making a decision on the next step.

- If you missed it earlier, Mark Teixeira was scratched from the lineup with stiffness in his surgically-repaired right wrist.  Sounds minor, some normal post-surgery effects.  Details can be found in the post below.

Mark Teixeira Scratched From Today's Lineup (UPDATED)

Mark Teixeira was penciled in as the starting first baseman today when the Yankee lineup was first released.  A few minutes ago, he was scratched and replaced by Kelly Johnson.

Multiple beat reporters had the story, but so far there has been no explanation from the team on why Teix was scratched.  Thinking back to the tired legs he talked about having during and after the Milwaukee series, maybe it has something to do with that.  Better to play it safe with him with how shorthanded the middle of the batting order is right now.  More on this story as it becomes available...

** UPDATE 12:55 PM- Via Mark Feinsand, Teix's right wrist was feeling stiff.  Joe decided to give him a day off today to rest it and said he was "hopeful" he could have Teix back in the lineup tomorrow. **

** UPDATE 12:57 PM- A few more details on the wrist, via Dan Barbarisi and Andrew Marchand.  According to Joe, Teix has been dealing with the stiffness for a few days, but it's not considered a big deal and no tests are scheduled.  That's good news. **

Game 49 Wrap-Up: NYY 7 CHW 1

(Courtesy of the AP)

Masahiro Tanaka had his winning streak dating back to 2012 ended earlier this week in Chicago.  It was the first time a team got to face him for the second time, which was naturally a big talking point after the results of the start, but Tanaka chalked it up to poor command on all his pitches and an off-day.  He got a chance to face the other Chicago team for the first time yesterday.  With no command issues, no Jose Abreu, and no history for the White Sox to go on, Tanaka could get started on another winning streak.  He did just that.

Game Notes:

- Tanaka got a nice, fat 4-run cushion to work with in the top of the 2nd thanks to 4 hits, a walk to load the bases, and a sac fly.  Brett Gardner's 2-run single was the biggest hit.

- He made that lead stand up by holding Chicago hitless over the first 3 innings.  They made him work for it (50 pitches in those 3 innings), but Tanaka was better at finishing with 2 strikes than he was against the Cubs.

- That high early pitch count did come back to nab Tanaka in the 6th, when he gave up a leadoff double and 2-out single to give Chicago their first run of the day.  A pair of walks in the 7th signaled the end of Tanaka's day.

- He got plenty more run support from his team.  Derek Jeter tripled and scored in the 4th, singled home Alfonso Soriano in the 6th, and Brian Roberts hit a solo HR in the 8th.

- Adam Warren picked up Tanaka in the 7th and worked a scoreless 8th.  Matt Daley did the same in mop-up 9th inning duty and the Yankees got themselves a split.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Which One Is It, Joe?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

On April 12th, after choosing to sit Derek Jeter and being asked about it by the media in terms of how he would respond to fans who were unhappy about coming out the ballpark and not being able to see Jeter, Joe had this to say:

“I have to manage him with a focus of winning games and keeping him healthy, not being a farewell tour.  I wasn't hired to put on a farewell tour.”

Perfectly reasonable and the exact response you'd expect from a manager.  Since then, however, Joe's actions in handling Jeter and managing his playing time have been more in line with the farewell tour than with winning ballgames.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Game 48 Wrap-Up: NYY 4 CHW 3

The Yankees got 7 innings of good work from David Phelps on Thursday night in the series opener against the White Sox.  It was the first step in an effort that Joe is going to have to undertake to get more out of his replacement level 3-5 spots in the rotation if he's going to avoid burning out his bullpen before the end of summer.  He had a chance to take another step in that direction this afternoon with Vidal Nuno's latest start, and like Phelps before him, Nuno gave his team distance and quality in his start.  A late comeback and a bullpen bounce back from D-Rob and the Yanks had their first win of the series.

Game Notes:

- It didn't look like Nuno was going to make it out of the 1st inning.  He gave up hits to the first 3 White Sock batters and they put 3 runs on the board thanks to a ribbie double, sac fly, and RBI groundout.

- Chicago singled to lead off the 2nd and the 3rd innings as well, but were never able to put enough hits together to lengthen the lead.  Nuno got big outs when he needed to and kept the game close for his offense.

- The offense flat out didn't show up to support Nuno at all.  They got their first baserunner on an error in the 3rd, their first hit on a Mark Teixeira double in the 4th, and never mounted much of a threat against John Danks through 7.

- They did finally put 2 runners on in the 8th (#smallvictories) but had 0 runs to show for it.  The bullpen picked up where Nuno left off and kept it a 3-0 game going into the 9th, and that's when the offense finally decided to show up.  With 2 outs, they put together 3 hits and 1 walk to generate 3 runs and send the game to extras.  Brian McCann had the big game-tying RBI single.

- In the 10th, Jacoby Ellsbury got the big hit to hopefully break him out of his month-long slump.  He smacked a 1-0 splitter for his second home run of the season to give his team a 4-3 lead, and D-Rob made amends for last night's blown save by holding down this win with 3 strikeouts in the bottom of the 10th.

Saturday Morning News And Notes: 5/24/13

A few things from yesterday and last night:

- Michael Pineda was feeling good after his latest bullpen session, so via George King, the decision has been made to move him up to facing live hitters this weekend.  He'll most likely throw some live BP today at the Tampa complex.

- On the international FA front, the Yanks are reportedly "close" to signing 17-year-old Korean shortstop Hyo-Jun Park to a $1.1 million deal.  Scouts say he's a very good fielder with a line drive/contact-driven approach at the plate, and he will count against this year's spending cap if the deal becomes official.

- Brian Roberts fouled a ball off his right knee last night and was removed early after limping around on it for a few innings.  X-rays were taken and came back negative, but I imagine he'll get today off.

- Via Jack Curry, last night's loss was the first for the Yanks when leading after 8 innings this year.  They were 21-0.

Game 47 Wrap-Up: CHW 6 NYY 5

(Courtesy of the AP)

On Thursday night, the Yankees faced Chris Sale making his first start coming off the DL.  He abused them.  Last night, they were facing former prospect Hector Noesi and hoping for much better results with the bats.  Noesi's basically done nothing but get knocked around by MLB hitters since being traded to Seattle a few years ago.  They hit him up for a few runs early, but not enough to gain a truly comfortable lead.  They'd eventually cough up the one they had and lose in a walk-off.

Game Notes:

- Eventful 1st inning.  Brian McCann smacked a 3-run home run in the top half, Hiroki Kuroda battled his command and Kelly Johnson botched a play at first base to give the White Sox an unearned run.  3-1 Yanks.

- Chicago got another run in the 4th on 3 singles and took the lead in the 5th on a 2-run home run by Alexei Ramirez.  Kuroda didn't have his sinker or his splitter working and he didn't make it out of the 5th inning.

- Noesi settled down after the 3-run 1st and made it through 6 without further damage.  The Yanks let him off the hook by grounding into 2 double plays and leaving 2 runners on in the 3rd and 4th innings.

- They regained the lead in the 7th when Chicago went to its bullpen.  With the bases loaded and 1 out, Jake Petricka threw a wild pitch that allowed Brian Roberts to score.  On the next pitch, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a sac fly to make it 5-4 Yanks.

- The bullpen core (Betances, Warren, D-Rob) worked into the 9th after Kuroda left and did so without giving up another run.  It took just 6 pitches to undo that work in the bottom of the 9th.  Leadoff single by Dayan Viciedo, walk-off HR by Adam Dunn on a misplaced cutter, White Sox win.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 5/23/14

It's strange to not be traveling somewhere for Memorial Day weekend for once.  No D-1 lacrosse tournament, no Coke 600 in Charlotte.  Just 3 days with nothing to do in the greater Milwaukee area.  Don't even know how I'm going to handle it (probably by day drinking and watching playoff hockey).  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Chad Jennings of LoHud dissected the pitching staff through the first quarter of the season to pick out who's exceeding expectations and who is not.

- Mike Axisa of RAB profiled Cali prep pitcher Grant Hockin as a potential Yankee draft target.  I've been reading more of these this year to try to be a tiny bit knowledgeable heading into the draft, and this is the first one where I've really liked the guy Mike profiled.

- On Tuesday, Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes proposed an intriguing bullpen swap option.

- On Wednesday, SJK of NoMaas pointed out the combined underwhelming performance of the 3 big position player offseason signings.  Fair criticism, but too early to make a big deal out of it.

- On Thursday, Rob Abruzzese of Bronx Baseball Daily put together an updated scouting report on Chase Whitley for those who weren't familiar with him during his MiL days.

- Matt Bove of IIATMS/TYA made a case for Kendrys Morales and why he makes sense for the Yankees to pursue now.

Michael Brown of Pinstripe Alley touched on the Yankees' high team K rate and the help that it's provided in overcoming their weak team defense.

- El duque of It Is High... pointed out all the good that a group of the unsung homegrown players has done so far this year to get the Yankees where they are.

- SG of RLYW brought up the topic of next year's shortstop in response to Jeter's struggles and Stephen Drew re-signing with the Red Sox.

- On Friday, Chris Mitchell of Pinstripe Pundits mused on Peter O'Brien's true prospect status and Major League potential in the context of his below-average defense and lack of defined position.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog compared the Yankees' offensive output so far to their past history to see if we should feel confident or pessimistic about it.

Little Cars action for this Friday.  I'm sure some of that day drinking will take place outdoors this weekend, and The Cars fit pretty nicely in the day drinking mix for me.

Enjoy your long weekend, everybody.  Go Yankees!

Why No Gardner?

(Really shouldn't take that much thought.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

I've written this post before, but if you're not familiar with it, here's the updated version.

Joe decided to give Brian McCann and Brett Gardner a night off last night and Derek Jeter a half-night off by DHing him against lefty Chris Sale.  That left the middle of his lineup pretty thin and the bottom half of his lineup almost non-existent.  A 6-9 of Brian Roberts, John Ryan Murphy, Brendan Ryan, and Zoilo Almonte wouldn't be ideal against Chris Hammond let alone the best left-handed pitcher in the American League, but that's what Joe went with.

Sale predictably shut down that weak lineup over his 6 innings of work.  Made them look terrible.  Took them out back and slapped them around like children.  The only thing that stopped the madness was the pregame pitch count limit Robin Ventura had put on Sale.  Now resting McCann I get.  He was due for a day off, he hasn't hit lefties that well, and he just had to play a day game after a night game in the 2 games against the Cubbies.  But sitting Gardner?  What was that about?  What reason was there for not having the 2nd-best hitter in the lineup right now in a lineup that was already half-gutted and facing an elite pitcher?

Game 46 Wrap-Up: CHW 3 NYY 2

(I'd be bumming too if I had to hit against Sale.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

I really don't understand why Joe played Derek Jeter and Brian McCann on Wednesday.  Day game after a night game, series starting against a better team in the same town on Thursday, why not take advantage against a crummy team like the Cubs?  Joe didn't and his lineup for last night's series opener against the White Sox suffered for it.  Ellsbury leading off again, Jeter DHing #2, Solarte 5th, and a 6-9 of Roberts, Murphy, Ryan, and Zoilo.  No McCann, no Brett Gardner (???), and Chicago ace Chris Sale coming off the DL.  Not a recipe for a lot of runs.  Or no runs, to be more accurate.  Because that's how many the Yankees got off Sale.

Game Notes:

- David Phelps has this Hughes-ian habit of not being able to finish off batters or innings.  He couldn't put away old man Paul Konerko after getting him down 0-2 with 2 outs in the 2nd and the White Sox strung together 3 hits and a walk to put 2 runs on the board.

- Sale absolutely tore through the Yankee lineup.  No hits through 5, 9 strikeouts including the side in the 1st and 3rd innings, and not even a single ball out of the infield through the first 4 innings.

- Phelps settled down after the 2nd and actually worked pretty efficiently into the 7th without giving up any more runs.  Retired 10 in a row at one point and let his defense work for him instead of trying to strike everybody out.

- The Yanks did finally get a hit, a Zoilo Almonte single in the top of the 6th, but they never came close to scoring against Sale.  They only started getting chances because Sale was removed after 6 innings.

- Phelps went 7 and Joe went to Alfredo Aceves for the 8th.  He did Alfredo Aceves things that added up to another White Sox insurance run.

- The only real chance the Yanks got against the Chicago bullpen came in the 9th when Ichiro singled, Jeter walked. and they moved up on a passed ball.  Mark Teixeira knocked them both home with a 2-out, 2-run single to make it interesting, but Alfonso Soriano struck out to end it.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mark, Your Defense. Woof!

Is it strange to anybody else to know that Mark Teixeira leads the team in errors?  I hadn't noticed that, which is equally strange because I had noticed that Teix had made a few errors and had not been his usual reliable, stabilizing presence over at first base since returning from the DL.  I was counting on his return to help solve some of the infield defense problems.  Instead, he's contributed to them.

Anthony Rizzo, Meet Dellin Betances

Rizzo: "OK.  I know he's going to try to get me to chase his curveball.  But I'm not going to do that."

/swings and misses at 1st-pitch curveball that hits him, swings and misses at 2nd-pitch curveball to go down 0-2

Rizzo: "Damnit!  Alright, now he's ahead so he's definitely going to try to get me to chase another one.  I gotta lay off this one.  I'm not going to swing."

Dellin: "K, see ya!"


(Screen cap courtesy of

Pineda Update: Threw 30-Pitch 'Pen Session Yesterday, Decision Coming Today On Next Step

 While Shawn Kelley took a big step back in his rehab work yesterday, Michael Pineda took another small step forward.  He threw a 30-pitch bullpen session before the game and did so without any pain or problems in his upper back/shoulder area.  It was the 3rd 'pen he's thrown and the decision on whether he throws another one in the next few days or graduates to facing live hitters will be made when the team sees how he feels this morning.

We're still weeks away from Pineda returning to the rotation, so don't get too excited.  But progress is progress.  Pineda moving up to live batters would bring him another step closer to coming back and helping the depleted rotation.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Game 45 Wrap-Up: NYY 4 CHC 2

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Interesting day for the Yankee rotation to say the least in the afternoon finale of this quick 2-gamer.  They had latest Triple-A replacement Band-Aid Chase Whitley on the mound and were facing potential trade target to upgrade from said Triple-A replacements Jeff Samardzija, the guy who Matt Garza advised to "pitch your way out of there" before he left via free agency this past offseason.  Nobody knows if Samardzija was pitching as an audition today, but if he was I think he nailed it.  Too bad he plays for the Cubs and they gagged it away for him again.

Game Notes:

- Wasn't much going for the offense through 4.  They went down in order in the 1st and the 3rd and left 2 stranded in the 2nd and 4th.  Brian McCann was one of the stranded both times.

- Whitley was up to the task of matching Samardzija for 0's, albeit in his tightrope-walking way.  He worked around 2 on/1 out in the 1st and a 2-out double in the 2nd, and retired the side 1-2-3 in the 3rd.

- The Cubs got to him in the 4th, and once again the infield defense was a factor.  GB single through the hole at short, infield single off a Teix deflection, sac fly, 1-0 Chicago.

- As he did in Whitley's first start, Joe went quick hook with him and went to his 'pen early.  With 1 out in the 5th and a runner on third, Dellin Betance got the call and neutralized the threat with 1.2 perfect innings and 3 strikeouts.

- Adam Warren took over in the 7th and gave up another big run on a 1-out triple and a squeeze play, and all hope looked lost until the top of the 9th, when a bases loaded throwing error by Darwin Barney turned 1 run into 2 and sent the game into extra innings.

- Both teams slogged through 12 before former Yankee Jose Veras became the first reliever to blink, giving up 2 runs in the top of the 13th.  Joe finally felt safe to bring in D-Rob in a save situation and D-Rob nailed it down to salvage the split.

Kelley Suffers Setback With His Back, Return Schedule On Hold

Shawn Kelley started his week-long rehab schedule on Monday by playing the catch.  If everything went according to plan, there was a chance he would be activated on Sunday.  Things did not go according to plan.  Not even close.

Via Dan Barbarisi, Kelley's rehab work has been shut down after he woke up with stiffness in his back yesterday.  Joe confirmed this to the beat guys before the game and said there is no timetable for when Kelley will try to throw again.  All we know right now is that everything is on hold and he's going to stay on the DL.

Jacoby's Rotten Month Of May

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

It's been the best of times and the worst of times for Jacoby Ellsbury in his first 2 months as a New York Yankee.  In April, he hit .312/.369/.452 in 103 plate appearances divided between the leadoff and #3 lineup spots, played a solid center field, and made a very good first impression on Yankee fans.  He was among the team and American League leaders in hits (29), runs scored (14), and stolen bases (8).

May has been far less kind to Ellsbury.  His production has dropped off dramatically, he's been a negative fWAR player, and the whispers about the Yankees overpaying have started popping up as they usually do when a player signs the kind of contract Jacoby did to come to new York.  After last night's 0-fer, Ellsbury's May slash line is down to .206/.315/.302.  He's scored 1 run in his last 5 games, has 1 hit in his last 7, 1 stolen base in his last 14, and 1 RBI in his last 15.  His season tripleslash is down to .269/.347/.391, good for a .325 wOBA and 102 wRC+.  What the hell happened to cause him to fall off this badly?

What Was Tanaka's Problem Last Night?

(Courtesy of Texas Leaguers)

In a nutshell, that's it right there.  Bad sinker command.  Tanaka couldn't get his sinker down in the zone last night, he gave up 3 leadoff hits on the pitch, and all 3 of those hits came around to score.  It wasn't like the Cubs knocked him all over the park.  The 4 runs they scored against Tanaka came on 2 GB singles and 2 sac flies.  But they did hit him fairly hard and it was what they did against his off sinker that set them up.  That and the flat slider that Tanaka couldn't get down when he needed to either.

The strategy was exactly what I expected it to be.  Tanaka threw more 4-seamers and more sliders than he did the first time he faced the Cubs.  He just didn't execute his pitches as well this time.  It happens.

Game 44 Wrap-Up: CHC 6 NYY 1

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

The Yankees swept the first half of their 4-game "home and home" series against the Cubs last month and they did it all in 1 day without allowing the Cubs to score 1 run.  The second half of the series kicked off last night in Chi-town with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound again for the Yanks.  He's now fully taken over the role of staff ace in title and in production.  If the Yankees are going to stay afloat while Pineda and Sabathia recover, they're going to do it on the back of Tanaka.  He wasn't able to carry them last night, breaking his 42-game regular season streak without a loss.

Game Notes:

- The Yanks put 2 runners on in the top of the 1st and almost knocked Jason Hammel out of the game with Brett Gardner's comebacker.  They didn't score though, and that was the toughest time Hammel would have all day.

- Tanaka, for whatever reason, just wasn't as sharp as he was against the Mets.  His slider command wasn't all that great, he missed with a few splitters, and his sinker didn't have its usual bite on it.  The Cubs turned that into a run apiece in the 3rd on 4th on a pair of RBI singles.

- The Yanks finally got on the board in the 6th when Mark Teixeira singled in Gardner.  He had led off the inning with a double and almost got stranded.  That kind of day from the offense.

- A pair of Chicago singles to start the bottom of the 6th turned into 2 more runs thanks to sac flies by Mike Olt and John Baker and a Teix throwing error.  More missed spots by Tanaka.

- He was out after 6 and Joe went to his second tier of relievers.  That put 2 more runs on the board for the Cubs and the game out of reach for the Yanks.

- Just to hammer the point home of how bad they were, New York left the bases loaded in the top of the 9th.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Report: Beltran Will Try To Play Through Elbow Injury (UPDATED)

Dr. Andrews must be raking it in on the Yankee account this year.  Carlos Beltran had his scheduled visit with the good doctor today to follow up on the bone spur in his right elbow that has him on the DL.  The visit and the revelation that Beltran had already received a 2nd cortisone injection in the elbow were bad signs that surgery, but it looks like Beltran is going to try to play through the injury first.

According to a report by Mark Feinsand, Dr. Andrews confirmed that Beltran has a bone spur in his right elbow (that's why they pay him the big bucks, folks), but apparently did not recommend immediate surgery.  Feinsand's anonymous source also says Beltran is going to try to play through the injury before turning to surgery and could come off the DL as soon as he's eligible if the elbow is feeling better.  If he's unable to play through the pain, surgery would put him out for 2 months.

In a way, this is better than immediate surgery.  The Yankees will get Beltran back in the lineup, for a short team at least, and maybe the cortisone injections will be enough for him to play with the injury and hit better than he has been.  That quick second injection really scares me though, and I think this could be a situation similar to CC's in which Beltran is just delaying the inevitable.

** UPDATE 5:09 PM- Via Bryan Hoch, Joe said Beltran will try swinging a bat on Monday to test the elbow.  If it doesn't feel good, he'll be shut down and undergo surgery. **

Tanaka Faces His First Repeat Opponent Tonight

(Almost none of those were hit hard.  Courtesy of Texas Leaguers)

The last time Masahiro Tanaka faced the Chicago Cubs was the first time he faced the Cubs.  It was his 3rd career Major League start and arguably his best one to date, even after his complete game shutout against the Mets last week.  He went 8 shutout innings on that day last month, allowing only a pair of infield singles with 1 walk and 10 strikeouts.

Tonight Tanaka makes his 9th career start and once again he'll be facing the Cubs.  This start will mark the first time that a team has gotten a second look at him, and with the way Tanaka has altered his approach from team to team and the way he worked against the Cubs on 4/16, it will be worth paying attention to how he changes things up this time.

Gardner Thriving In The Leadoff Spot

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

The Yankees brought Jacoby Ellsbury in to be their leadoff hitter.  They knew that, he knew that, and Brett Gardner knew that.  With Ellsbury hitting first and Derek Jeter holding down the #2 spot based more on reputation and tribute rather than merit, Gardner was left without a clearly defined role or spot in the batting order heading into the season.  Best suited to hit in the 1 or 2 spot, Gardner was relegated to the bottom third of the order as a pseudo-sorta second leadoff hitter.

ManBan Experiencing Arm Fatigue, Scratched From Start Last Night

With the Major League rotation taking such a physical beating lately, the organizational pitching depth has really dried up.  That's made Manny Banuelos a more attractive potential option despite the fact that he's been pitching primarily in High-A ball this year on a strict innings/pitch count limit as he comes back from TJS.  That comeback hit its first real rough patch last night when ManBan was scratched from his scheduled Double-A start with arm problems.

As first reported by Nick Peruffo, Banuelos was scratched for Jairo Heredia after telling coaches about some soreness and fatigue he had been feeling in his left arm.  A possible DL trip was discussed initially, but Banuelos himself told Peruffo the issue was fatigue more than soreness.  This is pretty common with guys who are coming back from surgery and a lot of missed mound time.  It doesn't sound like anything is wrong with ManBan's surgically-repaired elbow, so the plan for now is to rest him for 3 days and have him play catch on Thursday to see how the arm feels.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Maintaining Kuroda's Workload Restriction In The Face Of A Rotation Depletion

(Courtesy of the AP)

It's Pitcher Workload Monday around here today, huh?  That'll happen when 60% of your Opening Day  rotation is on the DL and replaced with 3 guys who struggle to complete 6 innings.  Further complicating matters is the fact that one of the remaining 2 healthy starters, Hiroki Kuroda, entered this season with a workload restriction attached to him.  Similarly to how Joe handled Andy Pettitte last season, the plan for Kuroda was to be a 6-inning/100-pitch pitcher for the most part.  The thought was that by limiting him to those thresholds early, it would help prevent the late-season decline in performance he experienced in 2013.  It's also a smart "better safe than sorry" strategy to take with a pitcher in his late 30s.

The problem with that strategy is that the substitution of Nuno-Phelps-Whitley for Nova-Pineda-Sabathia has put an extra strain on the bullpen.  One way to help alleviate that strain would be to let Kuroda pitch a little deeper in his outings, something Joe had the opportunity to do that in yesterday's opening doubleheader game.  Instead, he chose to stick to script with Kuroda and not push him.

Cash Says CC Will Be Out Until July

Confirming what most of us already suspected was the case, Cash told Joel Sherman earlier today that CC Sabathia is going to be out "until at least July" because of  the degenerative condition in his right knee, saying CC's return date "will be no sooner than 6 weeks from now."  According to Sherman's report, Cash said the 6-week timetable is the result of the stem cell injection CC was given by Dr. James Andrews last week and includes recovery and rehab time.

David Waldstein has confirmed Sherman's story and also that the 6-week timetable is from last Thursday, the date of the stem cell injection.  Sabathia was supposed to get off his crutches today and begin pool therapy work tomorrow, according to Cash, and I suspect today's follow-up with the team doctor is to confirm that CC can stay on that schedule.

Obviously this ramps up the Yankees' search for rotation help, which Cash also confirmed to Sherman, but right now there isn't much out there.  While we wait for that market to materialize, we might as well start waiting for the eventual report that Sabathia is behind schedule and will not be back in 6 weeks.  This whole thing has that kind of feel to it.  Hard to expect that 1 injection will be enough to overcome that many years of wear and tear on that knee.

Are Warren And Betances Being Overworked?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

The Yankees split yesterday's doubleheader against the Pirates in part because they were working with an undermanned bullpen all day.  Joe declared Dellin Betances unavailable before the first game after pitching him for 2+ innings on Thursday and Saturday and 3 times in the last 7 days, and Adam Warren became unavailable after the first game when Joe went to him in the 8th for the 3rd time in 4 days and watched him give up 3 hits and record only 2 outs.

D-Rob finished up that game with his second straight 4-out save, so he may not have been available for the second game either.  What was certain was that his current top 2 setup men were definitely not available and their shoddy replacements got beat for 2 late runs that sealed the Yankees' fate.  Betances and Warren are still pretty new to the higher-leverage relief gig thing, but it's not a stretch to say they're light years better than the Alfredos Aceves and Prestons Claiborne of the world.  Joe's recognized that pretty quickly and has leaned heavily on Warren and Betances through the first quarter of the season to overcome the injuries to D-Rob and Shawn Kelley.  Perhaps too heavily?

Report: Yanks Among 5 "Finalists" Interested In Cuban OF Daniel Carbonell

We know the Yankees are planning a massive international spending spree when the signing period opens on July 2nd.  According to new reports, they may be able to add a big name international player before then without having him count against the international spending cap.

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees are among 5 MLB teams who are currently considered "finalists" to sign Carbonell.  The only other team named is the Mariners.  For those who don't know, Carbonell is a 23-year-old switch-hitting outfielder who recently defected from Cuba.  In his last pro season there, he hit .278/.388/.405 in 127 PA.  His ceiling as a Major Leaguer is unknown, but from what I've read I don't think he profiles as a big time power hitter like Yoenis Cespedes or Jose Abreu or as quite the all-around hitter that Yasiel Puig has quickly become.

Still, an injection of Major League-ready talent or something close to that would be helpful to the team.  The crop of high-level outfield prospects hasn't done much this season and a more experienced hitter that's Carbonell's age is much more useful to the Yanks than a bunch of 16 and 17-year-olds.  If they have enough good scouting information on him and are truly as interested as Rosenthal is reporting, I'd be all for signing him.

CC To Be Reevaluated Today, Will Miss More Than 15 Days

This was the most likely outcome given last Thursday's diagnosis of "degenerative changes" in CC Sabathia's twice-surgically repaired right knee, but Joe made it official after yesterday's games that CC is going to be out longer than the minimum 15 days.  He will be examined again by the team doctor today in an attempt to come up with a rehab plan, but for now there is nothing planned until Dr. Ahmad gets another look at the knee.

Sabathia has been on crutches since the knee inflammation was first diagnosed and I imagine there's a chance that today's examination determines he needs to stay on them for a while longer.  Joe's statement to the media yesterday conveyed how unsure the team is about his condition and how serious a problem it could become:

"Is it a 15-day DL?  It’s going to be more than that, I can tell you that. When we’ll get him back, I don’t think any of us really know, because this is not something that’s done very often."

For now, I guess we just wait and see what comes out of today's reevaluation.  An official announcement from the team should come later today or sometime before tomorrow's game.  I'm not expecting it to be a positive one.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Game 43 Wrap-Up: PIT 5 NYY 3

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

The win earlier today gave the Yankees a nice little 4-game winning streak.  They could have kept that going and earned a series sweep in the process with another victory in the second, but that task wasn't going to come easy with Vidal Nuno starting, a very shorthanded bullpen supporting him, and a weak, shallow lineup.  All of those things combined to be too much to overcome and the Pirates escaped New York with a Sunday split.

Game Notes:

- A literal calamity of errors led to all the runs in the 2nd.  A pair by Brian Roberts and Yangervis Solarte cost Nuno a run in the top half, and a brutal fielding error by Travis Snider practically gave the Yanks 2 in the bottom half.

- It was relatively smooth sailing for Nuno after that.  He retired the next 9 hitters in a row through 5 innings, with 8 of the 9 outs coming by either groundout or strikeout.  The one other out came on a nice relay play to nail Josh Harrison trying to stretch a double before the go-ahead run could score.

- Nuno looked to be cruising through the 6th and then he made his 1 big mistake.  He hung an 0-1 slider to Starling Marte and Marte hit it for a go-ahead 2-run home run.  It was his 2nd HR of the day and it gave Pittsburgh the lead.

- The undermanned lineup was held in check after the 2nd by Cole, but the slumping and error-prone Yangervis Solarte got to him for a game-tying home run in the bottom of the 6th.  The guy's finding his power.

- Joe had the JV 'pen for this game and it didn't take long for that to bite him.  Alfredo Aceves gave up a 2-out home run to Harrison on a meatball fastball to make it 4-3 Pittsburgh and bring himself 1 day closer to a DFA.

- The Yanks couldn't mount another comeback.  They left runners on second and third in the 7th, had a potentially run-scoring hit robbed by a good defensive play in the 8th, and went down 1-2-3 in the 9th to split the day.